I've now been quilting for three and a half years. This blog is my personal quilting diary, that charts my progress (and occasional regression) from the start. I use it so I can look back at my past projects...and hopefully see my skills improve!

Tuesday, 16 December 2014


I haven't made as much progress as I would have liked with the EPP star border for the 2014 Quiltmania Mystery quilt.  I have been distracted by preparations for Christmas.  Nine stars are complete and I have twenty-seven still to go.  I am hoping to make some progress over the holiday. 

We've had some lovely cold and crispy winter mornings.  I couldn't resist taking my camera into the garden.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

OK, So it's December

I have been trying to get into the mood for Christmas.  I put the tree up about 10 days ago, as my baby grand daughter was coming for a visit.

I thought I'd work on a few little Christmas projects.

I saw the pattern for these tree ornaments in the Winter issue of Quilter's World and couldn't resist.  I hadn't tried cathedral windows before, so it was a relief when they turned out looking similar to the ones in the magazine!  A great way to use up scraps.

I have been looking at the pattern for the Cookie Plate Crumb Catcher project on the Crafty Quilter blog for a few days and had to make several.  They will look good on small tables over the festive holiday. 

Even my tiny scraps haven't gone to waste.  I made up some coasters from them.

I'm busy with EPP for the Di Ford Mystery Quilt.  I've got a long way to go  with 216 diamonds, but am enjoying the process.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Well, it's a Start!

OK, so it isn't much to show for a week's work but I've cut out all the fabric for the star border on the Di Ford mystery quilt.  I've got four stars complete.  Just another 32 stars in nine different colourways.  I'm really enjoying the fussy cutting. 

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Ships Ahoy

I have managed to add another couple of borders to the Mariner's quilt.  The colours were starting to make the quilt rather dark, so the ships border lightens it up.  I added broderie perse cockle shells to the corner blocks of the border.  The blue in the outside border is the same tone as the blue in the compass.  I am planning for the next border to return to somewhat darker blocks.  I have done all the rotary cutting for a border of pieced Ohio stars.  I'm not sure they will work in this quilt, so will piece one side ...and if not, may go for smaller broken dishes blocks instead.  I think there will only be one further border after this.  The quilt will probably finish at about 66 inches square.

Yahhhhhhhhh!  My Nov\Dec issue of Quiltmania has arrived this morning. The material pack arrived last week...so now I'm able to start the final part of the Di Ford BOM! 

I'm now torn as to which quilt to work on...but I think I'll start the fabric cutting for the Di Ford quilt.  It contains 216 EPP diamonds, so I'll be working on this for a while!

Decisions, decisions!

Happy quilting!

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Gradual Progress

OK, so not a huge difference since last week.  I finished border 2 and added some EPP diamonds to each corner, and then embellished with metallic thread.  

I may add some more small applique pieces to some of the diamonds on this border...not sure yet.  I have added a further narrow border in brown.  

I now want to lighten the quilt up with the next border.  I have plans, but won't be sure until some fabric I've ordered arrives. 

This morning at my patchwork group meeting, I managed to do all the rotary cutting for a border of 6 inch Ohio stars (21 pieces for each star).  I am thinking of using these two borders further out from the brown one.

Lots of options and lots to think about, but fun!

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Where does time go?

I haven't achieved much in my sewing room since the end of July.  Life has got in the way. :) I've made some small progress.  I've kept up with the Di Ford Mystery quilt.  I'm just waiting for the final part instructions and fabric to arrive. I've made some progress big stitch quilting my spools quilt.  That is going to take some time!

I adore medallion style quilts and have wanted to design one of my own, but am not sure I have the skills.  I have established a nice stash of Dutch chintz and Moda fabrics in my favourite patterns waiting for the 'right' time.  Two days ago, I started.  To say that I am designing a quilt is overstating it!  I am making my design decisions as I go along.  I have no idea what the quilt will look like when it is finished or how big it will be.  It's an adventure...if you like, my own mystery quilt!  I want to incorporate a little needleturn applique and some EPP.  I have some favourite blocks I'd like to piece into the quilt.  I adore mariner's compass and star blocks.  I also love broken dishes blocks.

Anyway, I have pieced a mariner's compass and added a mitred chintz border.  I am adding a pieced border at the moment.  I'm not sure it isn't too large, so it may get removed and moved to a border further out.  I'm loving this and having fun!

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Part 5 of the Mystery BOM Completed

Part 5 of the 2014 Quiltmania BOM by Di Ford is now finished.  I am sad that there is only one more part to go before the end of the project.  I have had a lot of fun making this, so far, and have learned SO much.  Firsts for me include hand piecing, broderie perse and EPP.  I had made an attempt at needleturn a couple of months before the start of the project, but was very unhappy with my technique.  Somehow, miraculously, my needleturn seems to have improved with practice.  Points are still not as clean as I would like, but I hope to continue improving as time goes on.

My sister, Heidi, stayed with me for the past two weeks and I was able to give her the quilt I made for her.  It is now residing in Canada.

The weather has now taken a turn for the colder after a wonderful September.  The quinces from my 2 year old tree had all been picked and were ripe, so I got around to making quince jelly this morning.

Couldn't be easier to make! Heaven in a jar - good on buttered toast, in tarts, or served with red meat. Quinces contain a lot of pectin, so jams and jellies set well.

  1. Wash and chop up quinces into chunks. No need to peel them. Remove any pips. Just cover with water. 
  2. Simmer until soft: 1 to 3 hours. Add more water if necessary. 
  3. Place in muslin bag or jelly bag. I tie the bag to handle on kitchen wall cupboard and allow juice to strain into a very clean bowl overnight. 
  4. Measure the juice. I use 500g of granulated sugar for each pint of juice. Add the sugar to a pan of juice and heat gently until all the sugar has dissolved. 
  5. Increase the heat under the pan until you have a rolling boil. 
  6. Allow to boil until a small tsp of jelly wrinkles when placed on a cold plate.  (About 20 mins)
  7. Remove from heat immediately and pour into warm (not hot) jars (fill up to neck) and seal. 

Easy peasy!

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Tea Dyeing and Basting

I now have  'before' and 'after' photos of Part 4 of the Mystery quilt...taken before and after I tea dyed the cream triangles that I found too bright for the quilt top.  I just dabbed the tea on with a small sponge.  Magic!  SO much easier than unpicking the border and resewing with another fabric!



I have now finished basting the spools quilt.  The basting took a good 6 hours!  I now need to decide how I'm going to quilt this monster.  I haven't a space big enough to photograph it!

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Basting (In more ways than one!)

I haven't managed to do very much in the past couple of weeks due to a week of teddy making followed by a week's holiday.  I have, however, managed to complete Part four of the Di Ford Mystery Quilt.  I don't expect the fabric pack for Part 5 until the end of September, so this is now packed away until then.

It wasn't until I took this photo, that I realised how bright the cream triangles looked, so I carefully tea dyed the triangles with a sponge. Much better now!

I added an extra border to my Spools quilt.  It now measures eighty inches square, so will fit our bed nicely.  I have started sandwiching and basting the quilt using the Sharon Schamber method.  She has a couple of very helpful videos on Youtube showing this method.  I am paranoid about getting wrinkles anywhere on the quilt - front or back, so I am basting it to death!

This process is likely to take some time, as the only space I have large enough for this that is out of the way is my conservatory.  It is very hot in there during the day, so basting will be confined to early mornings! Not only is the quilt being basted, I feel like I am, too!

Last week was my 60th birthday, so I've eaten far too much cake and chocolates!  We had some lovely days out.  We visited Ypres (now called Ieper) in Belgium, and did tours of the Houses of Parliament and St Paul's Cathedral in London.  We also visited Chislehurst Caves and the quilt exhibition at Danson House.  Mike's back at work this week, so normal service is resumed!

I am a bit obsessed by spools quilts at the moment, so was very taken with this lovely bed quilt at Danson House.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Work in Progress

I've had a very productive couple of weeks in the sewing room.  At the moment, designing and making teddies for the Hugglets Teddies Festival in London in September is my priority, but I am nearly finished piecing my Spools quilt.  The pattern for this is by Fig Tree Quilts and it is 68 inches square.  It is not quite big enough for our bed, so I have purchased some additional fabric to add an extra border, making it 80 inches square.

Spools Quilt so far...


Just need a few more hours in the day!

This is Chlotilde.  She is one of my original designs and will be going to London with me.  She is made from German mohair that has been aged to give that old, preloved look.  I hand knitted her an angora cardigan and sewed on a mother-of-pearl button.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Favourite Blocks

Last week was a good one for finishes.  I made up my two hand quilted silk blocks into cushion covers.  I added piping around the edges to give a nicer finish.  I also finished free motion quilting my sister's quilt and my oriental quilt.

I don't consider myself a great piecer, so have veered more towards applique just recently, but there are some blocks that have been calling to me lately.  I particularly like the look of hour glass, broken dishes and spools blocks.

I have lots of scraps from a jelly roll and other projects, so thought I would make them up into 9 inch double hourglass blocks.  These are much easier than I thought and like them a lot.  I've decided that I want these blocks to be in citrus colours.  I seem to have had a lot of green fabric left over, so more orange and yellow blocks are needed to break them up.  I have some much brighter yellow, green and orange fabrics to add some extra interest and value to these when I get the time.  I'm not sure what I'll do with these yet, but I just like the the look.

I have also just started making some spool blocks.  I am using a Moda Honeysweet jelly roll for these with a plain cream background.  I have started with making some of the delicate peach fabrics, but there are stronger shades of red and brown to come.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

For a Much Loved Sister

I finished a quilt for my sister this week.  She moved from the UK to Canada about 30 years ago.  She asked for a quilt in red, white and blue and preferably with a UK flag on it. The quilting used 1800 metres of thread.  I found the free Amy Smart pattern here:


I sewed some fabric photos of members of our family onto the back of the quilt. I hope she will like it.

The instructions for Part 4 of the Di Ford Mystery Quilt arrived this morning.  Just waiting for the fabric pack to arrive.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Can an Old Dog Learn New Tricks?

It's confession time.  I have hand quilted a baby quilt and a cushion cover before...BUT and it's a BIG but, I used a hotch potch of running and stab stitches!  The front of the quilt looks OK, but the backs are awful.  It is time to 'bite the bullet' and learn the hand quilting stitch properly.  I have a 16 inch square of off white silk, so thought a small project would get me going.  I have used a Sandie Lush Durham design.  The silk is nice and thin, so it was easy to trace the pattern onto the material.  I tried to use a hoop when I quilted the baby quilt, but the weight of the quilt in the hoop was really unpleasant, so I ended up quilting it hoopless.  I am finding the hoop OK for this small, light project, but think I might prefer to work on a frame for larger projects.  I don't want to invest in a frame until I know I can do the quilting stitch!

I started yesterday and put in about two and a half hours.  I am trying to learn to use the rocking motion.  I started off flicking the needle into my face several times, (luckily I wear glasses) but am now getting more control.  I want to learn to quilt in all directions, so have also been practicing stitching away from myself with my thumb...so if I buy a frame, it will be easier.  I am pleased with my progress so far.  The back of the project looks much better than previous projects.

The stitches are very large, though.  I'm only getting 5 stitches to the inch, so hope with regular practice, I'll get the stitches smaller. If not, I guess I'll be doing 'big stitch quilting!'

I'm going to try to practice at least an hour a day.  I love the look of hand quilting, and I have a couple of reproduction look quilt projects on the go.  I hope I will be proficient enough to make a decent job of hand quilting them by the time they are ready.

I'm also busy making teddies for Hugglets, in London, in September....no idle hands here!

Monday, 23 June 2014

On the Back Burner

I have made a good start on the Flowering Urn Medallion Quilt but it will now need to sit on the back burner, as I need to be making teddies for the Hugglets Teddies Festival in Kensington Town Hall,  London on the 14th September.  I have had a six month break from teddy making, due to severe headaches after a head injury in January.  The headaches have reduced in frequency and I now feel up to going back into my workroom.  I need to feel well and focused when making my one of a kind bears.

A teaser photo of my latest bear:

The flowering urn quilt will be worked on during my patchwork group meetings for a while. I will need my needleturn 'fix'!

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Di Ford Mystery Quilt Part 3 Finished

Part 3 is more or less finished.  I really enjoyed needle turning the broderie perse and I love working with hexagons.  It will probably be about a month to six weeks before I get the fabric pack for part 4, so in the meantime, I've started another project, the Flowering Urn Medallion Quilt by Rosemary Makhan.

A photo from the pattern book:
 I think it is lovely as is but I intend to change the colours to the fabrics I have in my stash.

If I run out of steam, the pattern book has another pattern for a wallhanging (with the same centre)...so I have a back up plan if I baulk at piecing all those stars!

...although, that dogtooth border looks difficult!

I've marked up the central medallion and about a quarter of the stems are done.

I'm off to the National Quilt Championships Show at Sandown on Friday with the lovely ladies from Hawkinge Patchwork Group.  I can't wait to see all the beautiful quilts on show...and I'm hoping to buy a few supplies while I'm there!

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Top and Bottom Borders Finished

I have now finished the top and bottom borders of the quilt.  I decided to hand piece them to the quilt after I happened across a video of Jinny Beyer hand piecing.  I'm really pleased I had a go.  It was very easy to do and I didn't catch the points on the previous border in the seam allowance.

I've made a decent start on the side borders.  I managed to get three hexie flowers completed and attached to the border at my patchwork group meeting this morning.  Happy days!

Thursday, 5 June 2014

One Border Finished, Three to Go

I am now splitting my time between bearmaking and quilting, so progress will be even slower.  The fabric pack for Part 3 of the Quiltmania Di Ford mystery quilt last weekend.

This border is a combination of EPP, needleturn and broderie perse.  I am very new to these techniques, but am doing my best to learn and trying a variety of methods.

Eighty-four half inch hexagons are required for this border.

 I sewed the first four leaves using traditional needleturn.  I wasn't overly happy with the result.  They were not as perfect as I would like.  I will leave them in the quilt, as I like the idea of the quilt showing my 'progress'.  For the rest of the leaves, I used a wash away stabiliser, and glue stick method.   This method has given a more consistent result.

One side of the border complete and three more to go.  I am loving every minute of making this quilt.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

EPP, Inspiration and Fun

We had a lovely two weeks on the Celebrity Eclipse.  I took a small envelope containing thread, needles, paper, scissors and some cotton fabric scraps with me.  EPP is perfect for sea days on a cruise.  I've no idea what I will use the flowers and stars for, but I really enjoyed making them.

We visited Malaga, Cannes, Rome, Florence, Pisa, Genoa, Gibralter and Lisbon.

I have discovered that having begun patchwork, I see inspiration everywhere!  Mike and I took hundreds of photos.  I have copied a few below:

Malaga, Spain




Obidos, Portugal

We had a lovely time, and managed to enjoy a few Mediterranean sunsets.

 It was raining when we arrived back in Southampton!